With 30 years experience, MIR has built a reputation as a leader in pioneering travel to destinations at the crossroads of Europe and Asia.

If you have a question that is not answered below, please do not hesitate to email our travel specialists or call us at 800-424-7289.

General FAQ's

What does “MIR” mean?

In Russian, the word mir means both “peace” and “world.”

Read more about MIR’s beginnings and why MIR is your best choice for travel to Central Asia, the Trans-Siberian Railway, Russia and beyond.

How long has MIR been in business?

MIR began over 30 years ago, in 1986, when president and founder Douglas Grimes helped organize (and participated in) a goodwill volleyball tour of the USSR. Douglas enjoyed the country and the people so much that he was inspired to help others travel there. (About MIR)

What is the maximum group size on a MIR tour?

MIR has four types of group tours, the Premier, Cultural and Explorer series tours and Private Rail Journeys. The Premier and Cultural trips have a maximum of 16 travelers, and the more intimate Explorer trips allow a maximum of only 12. Rail Journeys by Private Train are often large groups of 100 or more travelers.

Our Flexible Essential Private Trips are indeed Private Trips (not group tours). They are suggested itineraries with no set dates. Essentials are priced based on two travelers, although the number of travelers can be easily expanded or contracted.  A single traveler can book a Flexible Essential trip for a supplemental price.

Are the scheduled group departures guaranteed?

The Premier, Cultural and Explorer group tours are guaranteed once they have registered the minimum number of travelers. The minimum number varies from two to six and can be found on the specific tour page and in the Descriptive Daily Itinerary.

Rail Journeys by Private Train scheduled from May to October are considered guaranteed departures.

Can MIR book my international air transportation?

MIR’s in-house, full service air department is available to assist our travelers with their air travel needs. Check with MIR before booking air on your own, as we are happy to research and compare the best fares and routings available. We have access to special contract rates to many of our destinations, including excellent business class fares on Lufthansa, United, Austrian, Swiss Air, Air Canada, and SAS Scandinavian Airlines.

We do not furnish air-only arrangements; air tickets must be purchased in conjunction with a MIR tour. Mileage tickets and upgrades must be purchased on your own. Visit our Air Information page for more details.

Can MIR arrange pre- and post-tour extensions?

Absolutely. Our staff has the information and expertise to plan anything from one extra day in the Gobi Desert to two extra weeks in St. Petersburg. Aside from special-order extensions, many of our trips are designed so that they can be linked together back-to-back.

Also, consider the classic itineraries featured in our series of Flexible Essential Private Trips – well-designed private tour itineraries already researched and ready to book on the dates you choose. You can easily add these on before or after your main tour.

Are there any inoculations required for my tour?

No specific inoculations are required to travel to these destinations. We recommend that you talk to a travel medical specialist and consult the website for the Centers for Disease Control for recommended inoculations.

Who will lead my tour?

MIR’s tour managers and national guides are experienced, caring, multi-lingual leaders who bring a love of their work to ensure your satisfaction. Many of our managers are native to the lands in which they guide and have university degrees in art history, architecture, geology or ethnography.

Check out our sterling tour managers and guides.

How strenuous are MIR tours?

We offer four styles of group travel – Premier, Cultural or Explorer Series tours and Rail Journeys by Private Train – each with a slightly different focus and with different physical demands.

Explorer Series are more active than Premier or Cultural tours, but generally, to be comfortable on a MIR tour you need to be able to walk at least a mile a day unassisted, and be able to keep up with other group members. Private Rail trips may present challenges getting on and off the trains. For a detailed overview of the physical demands of each trip, see the specific Descriptive Daily Itinerary.

What’s included in my MIR tour?

MIR small group tours offer great value with our all-inclusive land tour pricing. By “all-inclusive,” we mean that we include well-located accommodations, the majority of your meals (as listed in the itinerary), access to spectacular sites, cultural performances and special visits, the services of an experienced tour manager, gratuities to support staff (local guides, drivers and restaurant staff for included meals), arrival/departure transfers (whether we book your international airfare or not) and ground/surface transportation per the itinerary (trains, coaches, jeeps, boats/hydrofoils as applicable).

The inclusions for each small group tour, Rail Journeys by Private Train and Flexible Essential Private Trip are listed on each tour page under “What’s Included” and in the Detailed Descriptive Itinerary for that tour.

What is the food like? Can you cater to special dietary requirements?

Cuisine in MIR’s corner of the world varies widely, from the elaborate salads and zakuskii (snacks) of Russia to the lamb-based stews of Mongolia. Our booklet, Touring with MIR, which you will receive after you register for a trip, describes the food in the countries you will be traveling through.  In most places, vegetarian options are available.

What kind of accommodations can I expect?

Style of accommodation varies by trip type and destination – from rustic lodges to authentic Mongolian gers to moderate or luxury hotels. Our three styles of small group travel – Premier, Cultural or Explorer Series tours – feature different levels of accommodation, from five star hotels (Premier Series) and perfectly-located three star hotels (Cultural Series) to rustic lodges, homestays, gers or even tents (Explorer Series).

The types of accommodation for each small group tour, Rail Journeys by Private Train and Flexible Essential private trip are listed in the Detailed Descriptive Itinerary for that tour.

What do I need to bring?

Included in the Touring with MIR booklet, which you receive after you register for a trip, is a list of suggestions on what to bring with you, including clothing, sundries, gift items and indispensables.

Check out MIR’s Travel Gear Shop, offering a unique collection of apparel and gear that helps you prepare for, and enjoy, your MIR adventure.

What’s the weather like?

Weather information for each of the countries you plan to visit is included in the Touring with MIR booklet you will receive after you register for a trip with MIR.  You can also find weather information on each country page on the website. Additionally, another good site for climate information is: www.climate-zone.com

Can I have more details on the tour I’m interested in?

Yes. You can instantly access a Descriptive Daily Itinerary of any MIR tour by clicking the Download Full Trip Descriptive Itinerary at the top right of each tour page. Here, you may also request itineraries by post.

If you prefer, you can also call 1-800-424-7289 or email MIR (info@mircorp.com) and let us know which tour or tours you are interested in.

Will I be met at the airport?

Yes. On MIR group tours transfers are included on the tour start date, whether MIR arranges your international airfare or not. A MIR transfer agent will be waiting just past customs and passport control with a MIR sign. If you are arriving before the official start date of the group tour, MIR can still arrange a pick-up and transfer from the airport to your hotel.

I’m traveling alone. Do I have to pay the single supplement?

Not necessarily. If you wish, we can try to find a roommate of the same gender for you. We are often successful in matching two singles wishing to share accommodations, but of course, we can’t guarantee it. If we are unable to find a roommate for you, the single supplement fee will be assessed.

What kind of information will I receive to prepare for my trip?

Once MIR receives your deposit and completed reservation form/release, we’ll send you a complete pre-departure information packet including daily itinerary, recommended reading, our detailed Touring with MIR handbook with touring and country information and a suggested air quote if requested.

Will you help me to get my visas?

MIR will assist you in the coordination of your visa needs; however, these costs are not included in the land tour prices listed.

Can MIR do the visas for me?

No, we can’t. MIR will provide detailed instructions on how to complete the necessary forms to send to our recommended visa service, but we can’t complete the forms entirely on your behalf.

What if I change my mind and want to switch to a different tour?

Travelers may transfer land payments from one scheduled Small Group Tour to another scheduled Small Group Tour to depart in the same calendar year, up to 91 days prior to departure, subject to availability. Within 90 days, travelers are subject to our cancellation policy. Transfer policy is not applicable from/to any Rail Journey by Private Train, Special Tour, Flexible Essential Private Trip or Custom or Private Journey.

For more details, please give us a call or see Traveler Information.

What are the penalties for canceling my trip?

For a full schedule of cancellation penalties, please give us a call or see our Traveler Information page.

What happens to my deposit if MIR cancels the tour?

Your deposit will be refunded if MIR cancels your tour. See our Traveler Information page for more details about cancellations.

Isn’t it dangerous to travel to these regions?

MIR’s destinations are no more dangerous than the rest of the wide world. Further, the safety of our travelers is paramount to us. MIR monitors events closely through our network of contacts on the ground as well as through other sources.

As far as petty crime is concerned, we have found through extensive travel that MIR’s destinations pose no more threat of crime than other places. As in any city in the world, there are pickpockets that may prey on travelers. If you keep your money and passport in a pouch or belt under your clothes you will not be an easy victim. Use your luggage locks when you travel or when you leave your luggage in a hotel room. Be particularly vigilant about your bags at the airports, including in the U.S.

Do you offer any discounts?

We offer a back-to-back tour discount of $100/per person/tour if you reserve two scheduled group tours in a row with us, such as the Journey Through Central Asia together with the Treasures of the South Caucasus. Occasionally we feature special offers on select tours through our newsletters; please sign up for our e-newsletter or give us a call at 1-800-424-7289.

I’m an agent: can I travel on one of your tours?

Yes, contact us directly for special consideration. Copies of your IATA card or IATAN list are required. Final payment must be made by net agency check.

I am booking a trip through a travel agent. Can I pay the final trip payment with my credit card?

No. For all agent bookings, MIR can only accept final payment by net agency check. There are no exceptions to this rule. For all direct bookings with MIR, travelers can use their credit card for the final trip payment.

I only want train tickets on the Trans-Siberian. Can you help me with that?

We do not offer point-to-point train tickets only. We would be happy to help you with your plans for a Trans-Siberian tour or other rail travel within our destinations if you are seeking arrangements for your accommodations, transfers and touring as well as the train tickets.

I only want to book hotels. Can you help me with that?

We are happy to help with hotel bookings if you are seeking arrangements for a full tour package (transfers and touring as well as hotels).

What about visas?

Many MIR programs require one or more visas, and each visa requires a completely blank page in your passport. Please take this opportunity to double-check your passport, making sure that you have enough blank pages and that the passport is valid for 6 months beyond your tour end date.

If you don’t, or you’re not sure, please contact us right away to discuss.

Once you have booked your reservation(s) with us, if your trip requires visas, we will send you the visa kit with appropriate instructions at approximately 3-4 months prior to departure.  Please note that visa fees are not included in the land tour package. The visas needed and costs for each are detailed in the Descriptive Daily Itinerary for each tour.

Travelers are responsible for obtaining all necessary visas prior to departure. MIR cannot guarantee visa or permit approval by foreign governments, and cannot assume responsibility for incorrect or improperly issued visa, permit or passport documentation, nor for any costs associated with a traveler’s refused visa or permit issuance or refused entry into a country due to incorrect or incomplete documentation. It is the traveler’s responsibility to check visas and passports for accuracy.